Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Col. Richard Kemp: ICC warrants are like Nuremberg trying Churchill and Truman - Gary Willig


by Gary Willig

Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan tells Arutz Sheva ICC prosecutor's seeking of arrest warrants against Israeli leaders are a 'political not a legal decision' and a 'scandalous abuse of the ICC’s power.'


International Criminal Court at The Hague
International Criminal Court at The Hague                                                           iStock

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of the British military forces in Afghanistan, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva about International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan's announcement that he is seeking arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

"The ICC prosecutor’s attempt to bring charges against the Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Israel alongside Hamas terrorist leaders is equivalent to the Nuremberg Tribunals attempting to bring charges against Churchill and Truman alongside Goering and Himmler. That of course did not happen and would have been unthinkable. Only moral bankruptcy in the ICC could have led this court to even contemplate such depravity," Col. Kemp said.

He called the attempt to bring warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant "a scandalous abuse of the ICC’s power. It is a political not a legal decision, intended to undermine a democratic state’s efforts to defend itself from genocidal terrorists. As well as the anti-Israel political motives of ICC officials and those in the UN who influence them, this is in part an effort by the court to deflect critics who say that it is too strongly focused on non-democratic states including African countries. But in fact, its focus should be on such countries because its founding statute only permits it to act in respect of states that lack either the capability or will to bring to justice those who seriously breach international law. That is far from the case with Israel, which has a long-established and world-respected judicial system with a track record of investigating and trying such allegations."

He warned that "the ICC has also had the US and UK in its sights for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. These investigations have also been an abuse of the court’s statute because like Israel both countries are more than capable of carrying out such processes under their own sovereign power."

"On the face of them the ICC’s allegations do not stand up," he said. "They relate to illegally killing civilians and withholding humanitarian aid as a weapon against the population of Gaza. I have been into Gaza myself several times since this war began and I have witnessed the delivery of aid into Gaza. From my observations, there is absolutely zero foundation for the ICC’s charges against Israeli leaders. I have also had meetings with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Gallant as well as numerous other political and military commanders."

Kemp noted that "the most important aspect of any criminal charges is intent rather than effect and I have identified the exact opposite of the criminal intent that the ICC seems to suspect. Many innocent civilians have died in Gaza, despite the remarkable efforts made by the Israeli political and military leadership to minimize it."

"Every death is the direct responsibility of Hamas terrorists who started this conflict, have murdered many of their own civilians, and done all they can to compel the IDF to kill Gazan civilians by fighting from within the population. This Hamas strategy is intended exactly to bring international condemnation upon Israel and by taking this action the ICC is playing right into their hands. This action both strengthens Hamas and encourages terrorists everywhere to adopt the same tactics, and then tries to tie the hands of democracies attempting to defend against it," he said.

When asked why the ICC prosecutor announced that he is seeking arrest warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders at the same time, Col. Kemp responded, "Khan’s transparently deceptive efforts to try to show even-handedness over his arrest warrants will not convince anybody. He has Israel, not Hamas in his sights. He knows there will be no ramifications from any indictments issued against the leaders of a terror group that is beyond the reach of international justice. If he genuinely wanted to indict Hamas for war crimes, why wait till now? Their deliberate attempts to attack Israeli civilians, as well as the brutal repression of their own people, have been well-documented for many years."

"To try to invent some kind of moral equivalence between a democracy working to defend its people and a terrorist group hell-bent on mass murder represents the depths of depravity in The Hague. The court should deny Khan’s application to issue warrants and demand his immediate resignation," he said.

Kemp said that in response to this move, Western nations should impose sanctions on the ICC.

"Legislation to sanction ICC officials for this kind of abuse of American allies is already in front of the US Congress. This should be passed and sanctions applied as quickly as possible. The UK and other democracies should demand that this charade is halted and the prosecutor fired. They should either withdraw entirely from the court or act to have it fundamentally reformed," he said.

"Israel should not cooperate in any way with the ICC. If there were any case to answer among its leaders it is able to deal with that itself and it is also the only country that has the capability of bringing justice against the likes of Sinwar and Haniyeh," Col. Kemp concluded.

Gary Willig


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